RIYADH • Thailand were dealt a blow to their 2018 World Cup qualifying final-round campaign when they conceded a late penalty to Saudi Arabia on a controversial Thursday night, when the match was won by a solitary goal.
Kiatisuk Senamuang's side created some good chances for the majority of the Group B game but the coach will bemoan not being awarded two first-half penalties.
Instead, referee Fu Ming awarded Saudi Arabia a spot kick in the 81st minute and sent midfielder Sarach Yooyen off at full-time for continuing his protests.
Thailand had their first claim for a penalty dismissed as early as the 15th minute, when Osama Hawsawi obstructed Teerasil Dangda when the Thai forward made a run into the box to challenge a corner.
Video replays also clearly showed that the Saudi defender had no interest to get to the ball.
In the 21st minute, Fu made yet another controversial call when he denied Thailand's second penalty appeal.
Teerasil was again involved when he latched onto a pass from Chanathip Songkrasin, went past Saudi goalkeeper Yasser Al-Mosailem before being brought down.
A free kick was awarded on the edge of the box and Al-Mosailem was shown a yellow card.
Replays suggested that the foul was inside the box. However, there was also minimal contact from the stopper, meaning that the officials had made two errors of judgment.
Saudi Arabia sealed the game when Nawaf Al-Abid scored their penalty after Sarach lunged in on Fahad Al Muwallad in the penalty area. Kiatisuk, however, was pleased with his side's performance despite the defeat.
"The turning point was the penalty that we conceded but before that we managed to have a good performance and gave our opponents a hard time," he said. "In football, a small mistake can cost you and hopefully we will learn from this match and change the situation in the next match against Japan."
The Japanese suffered a shock 2-1 home loss to United Arab Emirates on Tuesday.
Japan forward Keisuke Honda felt the Blue Samurai were robbed of a clear goal but captain Makoto Hasebe said his profligate team had signed their own "death warrant".
Japan were denied a 77th-minute equaliser when a close-range shot from substitute Takuma Asano was controversially ruled out by Qatari referee Abdulrahman Al-Jassim.
Replays were unequivocal, showing the ball floating behind the goal-line in mid-air before goalkeeper Khalid Eisa could parry it.
"I had a good look at it and I know it went in," Honda said.
The Japan Football Association had filed a protest over the disallowed goal, but captain Hasebe said his team should have won without needing to launch an appeal.
"We had enough chances to win the game and spurned them and that is down to us," said the defensive midfielder. "We took the lead but signed our own death warrant."